Guidance: Child Care, Schools and Institutions of Higher Education

CA Safe Reopening

COVID-19 Response Recommendations for Child Care Programs, K-12 Schools, and Institutions of Higher Education

Current Situation in Orange County

Orange County moved into the Red Tier (Tier 2) of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) framework on September 8, 2020. Beginning September 22, Orange County Schools are eligible to reopen to in-person instruction as long as the County data remains consistent with the Red Tier or better. Schools may continue with distance learning or hybrid schedules according to local needs. Elementary school waivers are no longer required at this time. Parent/community input or questions can be emailed to

HCA School Response

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Drive Thru Event Guidelines

Drive Thru Event Guidelines

Since Spring 2020, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has conducted weekly meetings with the OC Department of Education (OCDE), the County Superintendent of Schools and local school districts. Our partnership recognizes the importance of in-person education and ensuring that education is carried out safely.

The HCA COVID-19 School Response Team (SRT) was developed to help with school reopening. The SRT includes nine HCA Public Health Services (PHS) staff members, including a Medical Director, Program Manager, Public Health Nurses and an Epidemiologist. The support team also includes a team of medical professionals from CHOC Children’s Hospital and UCI Health. Public Health Nurses, under the direction of HCA Medical Directors, assist K-12 schools through the following activities:

  • Provide resources and tools to communicate up-to-date information on responding to COVID-19.
  • Support school reopening in both public and private sectors by sharing CDPH guidance and establishing a new partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and University of California, Irvine to assist schools with their reopening plans.
  • Organizing and managing the County’s elementary school TK-6 waiver application, review and approval process.
  • Support with identifying COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in students and staff to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • COVID-19 Guidance for Schools and School-Based Programs: (

The HCA COVID-19 Schools Response Team also provides COVID-19 case and contact tracing assistance to local child care providers, youth sports teams, and colleges and universities.

Parents and students should contact your school with any questions. If you still have questions, email our OC COVID-19 Hotline at or call (714) 834-2000.

Visit for news and information about Orange County schools and the OC Department of Education.

Downloadable flyers and posters geared towards K-12 students are available HERE.


Child Care Programs

Youth Sports

  • CDPH issued guidance for all youth sports programs—including school-based, club, and recreational programs—to support a safe environment for players, coaches and trainers, families, spectators, event/program/facility managers, workers, and volunteers. Click the link to download those guidelines.

Colleges and Universities

  • The California Department of Public Health released guidance for institutions of higher education to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 to campuses on August 9, 2020. These recommendations can be found at:
  • Colleges and universities in the county should consult with OCHCA to develop an appropriate response plan when a case of COVID-19 is identified in a student or staff member
  • HCA Recommendations for Responding to COVID-19 Case(s) in Institutions of Higher Learning | PDF